“I liked it right away,” Hariharan said.
In fourth-grade, he won his school wide Geography Bee.
Then when he entered Skyridge Middle School last year, Hariharan won the school-wide contest, and placed in the top 20 at state.
There are several levels students must go through before they even get the opportunity to become school champions: The first several rounds are held in individual classrooms. Teachers ask multiple choice questions and the top two students in each class take a written quiz. From there, the top 10 participate in a school wide, multiple choice and written Bee. The winner continues on to the state level.
Hariharan prepares for the contest year round, studying three to four hours a week. He even has a coach who works with him every month.
“I also like to use Google Earth and look at major landmarks,” he said. “I also study five states a week and it helps me retain the information. Then I’ll start working on one continent at a time. Then I go back periodically and review.”
His Washington State History teacher Gail Cooper said Hariharan is a very unique student.
“I am deeply impressed with his dedication,” she said. “This subject is not really popular in American culture. Yet, geography dictates the landscape of any country. If you understand the geography of it, you can understand the issues that go along with it.”